It’s a restless, languid evening in Los Angeles.
30 years ago I would have gone forth into the Lower East Side night looking for some sort of angry fix or date with destiny but a bar fight doesn’t cut it when you are in early middle age; so I pulled out my medical history to be sure I had in fact been vaccinated for consumption and ventured forth in to the East Hollywood night. Destination: the Monte Carlo for cocktails.
I chose my seat at the half moon bar nearest the door so I wouldn’t trip over the peeling linoleum floor if I had to make a quick exit due to police raid or I had to rebuff the affections of a bald, toothless prostitute in a black mini skirt and hot pink tube top. Looking up at the TV white noise wishing it were the mindless noise of a bad Woody Woodpecker cartoon instead of more righteously indignant commentators getting all up in arms about a who really gives a fuck topic anyway when I heard a familiar voice over by the pool table.
“7 ball, two cushion, side pocket. If I make this I own your soul, ok?”
It appeared that Masshole, a dumpy 29-year old city employee originally from Boston always dressed in a light blue shirt, jeans with a massive out of date Prince Valiant haircut that didn’t quite fit with his curly hair and massive almost to the size of an A-Lister head, was in the house. When he put on his helmet Masshole was a great pool player who also fancied himself as Papa Legba and The Monte Carlo as the crossroads. He would probably beat you at pool as he knew every slant and lane and dead spot on the shitty little pool table that probably dated from 1932 when it was a remainder off balance Pawn Shop buy. Masshole would then claim to own your soul but being the ever gracious Mephistophelian he would allow you to buy it back. The price: a price of a shot of rail bourbon.
His opponents’ voice sat me upright.
“Why not. I’m an Atheist. People don’t have souls. When we die we just end. That’s all.”
It was Man Bun holding a pool cue in lieu of his service dog, watching Masshole’s shot with great intensity obviously hoping to force a miss. Alas, the shot went in and Masshole threw down a blue Bic ball point pen and little blue spiral notebook from his left back pocket.
“Sign here,” Masshole said.
“Why,” Man Bun asked.
“It’s a contract. I own your soul.”
Shockingly Man Bun scribbled his name on the small piece paper.
“I win,” Masshole said.
“But the game isn’t over,” Man Bun countered.
“I own your soul. I win.”
“There is not such thing as a soul!”
“Look,” Masshole said. “Buy me a shot a rail bourbon and we’ll start a new game. Buy me two shots and I’ll tear up this contract and give you your soul back.”
Masshole knows from an easy mark.
Just as Man Bun was negotiating price – it was $15 but he would take $12 for the two shots which should total $10 – with Masshole in walked A Line dressed in a pink tank top, denim jean skirt revealing a greenish blue tattoo that went from ankle to crotch on her left leg. She still had on that damnable gray Envelope hat.
“Baby come on, we’re going to be late for Cricket’s dinner party,” she said.
As they walk out the door Masshole screams after them “What about your immortal soul?”
“There is no such thing as an immortal soul,” A-Line screams back.
So much for a loophole.